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‘Cynic’s Choice’ to Move to KSRF, KOCM

Times Staff Writer

A listeners’ crusade has rescued “Cynic’s Choice,” a 20-year-old Sunday comedy fixture at KFAC-AM (1330), from oblivion with the announcement Thursday that the weekly program will continue to air in Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Stations KSRF-FM (103.1) in Santa Monica and KOCM-FM (103.1) in Newport Beach, both owned by Radio Broadcasters Inc., will begin airing the two-hour British comedy revue at its old time of 10 a.m., each Sunday, beginning Jan. 15 “without losing a beat,” said Malcolm Berman, KSRF’s commercial development director.

“I had worked for KFAC for about 8 1/2 years before coming to KSRF, so I was very familiar with the show,” Berman said. “It seemed like a natural hookup to bring it over to KSRF, since our station is located in Santa Monica, which is sort of the hotbed of British culture in Southern California.”

Two weeks ago, Brian Clewer, the creator and host of “Cynic’s Choice,” believed his show had finally lost its franchise with KFAC-AM’s sale to a broadcast group that intends to switch from its current classical music format on Jan. 14. The new KFAC-AM format will consist of several foreign-language programs, ranging from Japanese to Filipino, but British comedy will not be part of the new ethnic mix.

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More than 100 letters came to The Times, prompting a Tuesday article on Clewer’s dilemma that was, in turn, rewritten by several London tabloids.

“I got outraged calls from the London Evening Standard and the Daily Mail and this morning I got calls from (London-based) Capital Radio, BBC One and BBC Four,” Clewer said Thursday. “They all wanted to know what on earth (broadcasters) were doing to British expatriates in Los Angeles.”

Clewer said the final KFAC broadcast of “Cynic’s Choice” will be this Sunday before the move to Santa Monica next week.

Ironically, he has had to move his off-the-air business to Santa Monica in recent weeks as well. For many years, Clewer has operated a record and video retail business, specializing in British recordings, out of the Ambassador Hotel in Los Angeles. Last week, the venerable Ambassador shut down after more than 50 years of operation and so did its collection of boutiques. Clewer’s new Santa Monica location is a few blocks from KSRF.

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“We’re planning a big welcome party for ‘Cynic’s Choice’ at one of the English pubs on Santa Monica Boulevard,” said KSRF’s Berman. He said the new addition will replace adult contemporary music that is currently programmed Sunday mornings on both stations.

“For the first time, we’ll be in FM stereo too,” Clewer said. “That means I can exercise my schizophrenia to the fullest.”


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